If you’re dreading another long meeting or end-of-week work drinks conducted over Zoom, a handy new website called Zoom Escaper may be the solution for you.
Last week, industrious artist and educator Sam Lavigne released Zoom Escaper, a tool that foils any videoconference through your Chrome browser.
“Zoom Escaper is a tool to help you escape Zoom meetings and other videoconferencing scenarios,” Lavigne wrote.
“It allows you to self-sabotage your audio stream, making your presence unbearable to others.”
Zoom Escaper works by creating a ‘virtual webcam’ that takes footage from your existing webcam and adds a little spice.
By applying video filters and sound effects, Zoom Escaper allows the user to pull a more sophisticated version of the ‘oh sorry I’m going into a tunnel’ trick. These features include:
- adding a time delay or making the connection choppy;
- playing sound clips of a baby crying, a man crying (?), wind howling, dogs barking, loud construction and even someone urinating loudly.
Thankfully, you won’t be able to hear the audio interference applied to your voice.
But Lavigne warns people about using the tool.
“Please be mindful of how you use this tool. Consider who is in the call and what impact it will have,” he wrote.
Now, if you’re in an organisation that means you would rather pretend that there’s someone wailing in your room rather than politely declining an invitation, there’s probably bigger issues at play.
But many people have complained about Zoom fatigue, a feeling of exhaustion that’s unique to online communication where you feel like you’re being watched at all times. Even as things slowly return to normal, the convenience of a videoconference makes them easier to set up — but just as hard to turn down as an in-person invitation.
And if this doesn’t go far enough for you, Lavigne’s Zoom Deleter — an open source application that checks your computer for Zoom and, if found, immediately deletes it — may be just what you’re looking for.